Patton Kizzire clinched the Sony Open in Hawaii after prevailing in a six-hole play-off with James Hahn – but the 2018 event will be remembered for a number major incidents that occurred over the weekend.
Firstly, just after 8am local time on Saturday morning, players received an emergency phone notification, which read: ‘Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill’. A banner was also displayed on TV screens.
Naturally, this caused widespread panic among players with there being a 38-minute gap before a second message was sent out saying that it was a false alarm and the message had, in fact, been sent by accident.
Here’s how some of the players reacted:
So.......this can’t be good. Everyone is freaking out in the hotel pic.twitter.com/NDkg8FxQLy— Steve Wheatcroft (@wheatiePGA) January 13, 2018
To all that just received the warning along with me this morning... apparently it was a “mistake” 🤔 hell of a mistake!! Haha glad to know we’ll all be safe https://t.co/sYmuVzymaQ— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 13, 2018
In a basement under hotel. Barely any service. Can you send confirmed message over radio or tv https://t.co/qHLeQSecnd— JJ Spaun (@JJSpaun) January 13, 2018
Caddie in ICU
Also on Saturday, pro Blayne Barber took to Twitter to say that his caddie, Cory Gilmer, is in intensive care after collapsing and hitting his head.
Gilmer was out with some fellow caddies after finishing dinner with Barber when he is said to have collapsed while sitting on a high-top chair, hitting his head hard on the ground in the process.
He was rushed to hospital with swelling around the brain and has been unresponsive since.
What a 12 hours it’s been. Cory (one of my best buds and caddie) is in the neurological ICU in HI after collapsing and hitting his head. Please pray for him. We trust in Jesus in the easy and the hard. Between that and the missile “threat” I’ve had quite the reality check today.— Blayne Barber™ (@BlayneBarberAU) January 13, 2018
A few people went and were able to see Cory tonight. He’s still unconscious and sedated. He’s moving a lot in his bed but mostly from discomfort. They are monitoring the swelling in the brain from the impact of the fall. His family is coming tomorrow. Thanks for all the prayers!— Blayne Barber™ (@BlayneBarberAU) January 14, 2018
Small improvement this morning for Cory. Still in a critical stage but asked about his friends, said his last name, and asked the nurse to pray today. He’s got a long way to go but continue to pray! Specifically that the swelling would go down in his brain.— Blayne Barber™ (@BlayneBarberAU) January 14, 2018
Checked on Cory again tonight. Not much has changed from this morning. He’s stable but still completely unaware and mostly unconscious. It will be another 2-3 days before they will know more, but he’s in great care! Will be in Hawaii for a little while. Keep praying!— Blayne Barber™ (@BlayneBarberAU) January 15, 2018
Camera operators go on strike
And on Sunday, due to a strike, Golf Channel was missing union video and audio workers during the final round, with action also affecting coverage of the Web.com Tour’s Great Exuma Classic.
The Golf Channel scrambled to put together staff in Hawaii, with a crew at the network's Orlando studio taking over commentary duties, although understandably, the quality of the coverage was affected.
Speaking after his victory, Kizzire perhaps summed the whole week up best.
"It has been a peculiar week,” Kizzire said. “We have a great friend that is in critical condition as well that our prayers to him and his family, and the missile strike was wild - or the missile threat was wild, and the camera strike was unexpected as well.
“So amongst all that, I was able to focus on playing golf, and I was glad to get the win.”